Jerry and Norm
The Hiker’s Guide to the
The Hiker’s Guide to the
Both books include maps.
High & Low Tides, Lost Coast Trail Transport Service, Roxanne@saber.net or http://gofishingforum.net/tide.pl?location=Shelter%20Cove%2c%20California&state=CA&lat=40.0333&lon=124.0667– Note, there are points where passage is much more difficult or impossible at high tide, so tides must be included in your planning.
Trails of the Lost Coast (map), Winderness Press
Other Lost Coast information including information on bear cans, shuttles, permits, trails, camping, etc. at http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/arcata/kingrange/index.html
We arranged to be picked up by the shuttle at the Usal Creek in the
Day 1 Shuttle,
We were walking by . We took a slight sort cut and so we did not head directly for the beach. When we got to the beach we saw signs of sea life immediately in the form of a sting ray on the beach. We had lunch before we reached the light house and enjoyed the first of many sea lions frolicking in the surf.
We walked in black sand all day. Along the way we saw mammoth stumps which we assume must be redwoods based on the size. We stopped at . We walked beyond the tide issues at Sea Lion Gulch and actually further than we had planned. The camp sites at Cooksie creek, where we intended to stop, were occupied so we kept going to
Day 2 – to Big Flat and Shipman Creek -Soon after leaving
We found a nice campsite among the old logs at Shipman Creek, making the day about 10 miles. We made a small fire from driftwood and saw whales swimming by. Again we were between tide issues as planned.
Day 3 – On to Shelter Cove and UP to the Hidden Valley Trail - We awoke to a cool and wet world due to heavy fog. We walked all the way to Shelter Cove on the black sand beach. We saw hundreds of seals floating in the water, star fish on the shore and whales passing by. We took pause (or would it be paws) when we saw clear bear tracks in the sand. They seemed to be about six inches across and about eighteen inches apart. I guess the bear cans were worth the trouble. There were a few more creek crossings. The final stretch is open to vehicle traffic so there were tire tracks. We saw only one vehicle. We also saw a dedicated young surfer who was carrying a surfboard and a back pack evidently bound for Big Flats which is reputed to have some good waves. That’s about a 10 mile walk.
We reached the first Shelter Cove parking area at lunch time so we ate and napped on the beach before starting the climb through civilization. We then walked up the road, and at the first intersection we hitched a ride “to the store”. To our horror, the truck took us downhill not uphill. He took us to the only store he knew of. When we asked about our food at the store, all we got was very blank stares. Wrong Store! We started walking back uphill again. There wasn’t much conversation. Luckily we hitched another ride in another pickup and this time we made sure we would get dropped off at the right store. This store had the door on the left as described by Roxanne and our food was waiting for us. We left the bear cans so Roxanne could return them for us. What service! We had some cool snacks and drinks and started uphill again. That is one long hill especially in the heat of the afternoon, exposed to the sun. We failed to hitch a ride on this leg. The road is quite steep so it discourages drivers from stopping. We were relieved to get to the shade of
Day 4 – To
We walked on down the road to Bear Harbor Campground which can also be reached by car. We set up camp and walked down to the harbor. There are huge (Cluster Cone) rocks where the waves explode. We climbed on the rocks for a couple of hours enchanted by the sights and sounds. We learned that the next day would be very special due to an extremely low tide that would allow easier access to the abalone which live below the water line on these rocks.
Back at camp we saw elk hanging around the out house. There were beautiful calla lilies growing in the stream. We made another driftwood camp fire.
Day 5 – Wheeler and the Jack Ass Creeks - We hung around to see the abalone harvest and hundreds of starfish, which were exposed by the low tide. We couldn’t see either of these sights in
On the trail by . The plants along the trail were very wet and so were our pants within moments. Don’t you hate that? The trail stays away from the shore and deep in the woods where we saw many very large redwoods including those in Schoolmarm Grove just as we reached Jackass Creek and Wheeler. Wheeler looks like a town which could happen but in fact it is a town that already happened. It is abandoned. You can see where the streets and individual home sites were. We had lunch by the creek and napped on a picnic table. The rest of the Lost Coast Trail has the pattern of a steep and long climb, some relatively level travel, and steep a descent to a point where you can access the ocean followed by another steep and long climb, then repeat. Our final descent was steep and down to Little Jackass Creek which we reached at about . 9 plus miles for the day.
We occupied a nice site on the beach with some benches and an outhouse near by. We saw whales jumping and breaching. Eventually two fellows set up a camp on the black sand beach (our beach). We chatted with them. One fellow seemed to have a superiority complex somehow related to his knowledge of the ocean from sailing and from being a
Day 6 – Back to the Car - As we left camp we saw a deer near the outhouse. Not sure where they came from but two fellows took our camp site before we were even over the first hill. We saw many slugs but even from the high points we saw no more whales. The trail is up and down including descents into Northport, Anderson and Dark Gulch. We started to say we “must be about an hour from the car” much too early. That really makes the day long. At Dark Gulch we wanted to take a break but did not find any trail to the beach or any camp sites. After Dark Gulch we had a rest stop on a high point and were joined by Kevin who was hiking North by himself. He had been on hikes for some months now. His only food was porridge so he was happy to take some of our extra food off our hands including steak bites, M&Ms and Gorp. He was marginally equipped. He had been to college and was married but seemed to be out trying to “find himself”. This part of the trail has its own wild flowers. We saw Foxglove plants taller than we were. Eventually the trail started a winding descent to the Usal Creek area and right back to our car. We cleaned up in Usal Creek and drove to Leggit for iced tea and ice cream, and then on to Willits for a motel and our traditional steak dinner at the Purple Thistle. Due to some long days we finished a day early. On day 7 we drove back to